Friday, June 27, 2003

You know what I love about the Buffyverse? The diverse fan base. It's amazing. Young to old, across many countries, and all the lifestyles/occupations you can imagine. One fellow Bronzer I have never met, even though he lives in Indiana, not too far from me, just got published. This is so exciting to me! I can remember when he was talking about writing his book back on the Linear board at UPN. Sometime before it got shut down, I recall the conversation he had w/ another Bronzer about beta reading it for him. Now, months later, he delivers the news that a publisher is interested in it. Fantastic!

It takes a while longer, a web site is made, and he has the ISBN! Having worked in a library and often researching books online, I know all about ISBNs, and we share a little giddy post back and forth about how that makes it seem so official even though he doesn't have the printed copy in his hands yet. And now, it's so official, it's for sale! We constantly tease him that he is going to have to visit all of our home towns for a book signing because it's just no good if it's not signed. ;-)

And some day, we can say we knew him when.

So, if you like a bit of suspense, a bit of a scare, please check it out. Here is a little blurb from his site and email:

THE WIDE GAME by Michael West

On the advice of his wife, Paul Rice is making plans to attend his 10th year high school reunion. Returning to his boyhood home of Harmony, Indiana, he finds that he is still haunted by memories of that time-memories of Deidra, his first love, and memories of the Wide Game. It was ten years ago that Paul and his friends watched their day of fun become a race for their lives, a fight for their very souls. Now, as he meets the survivors of that day once more, Paul makes a chilling discovery: the incomprehensible forces that toyed with them have yet to finish playing their own game.

"Thrilling, exhilarating, fast-paced and ferocious, The Wide Game delivers the goods. It's The Breakfast Club meets The Blair Witch Project. It still haunts me!" -Marc Morriston, WTTV Indianapolis

I will certainly be taking the time to pick it up. You can order it from his web site, PublishAmerica, or any book store if you give them the ISBN: 1-59286-072-9.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this. If you get the book and read it, feel free to post a review about it on my site. I will be sure to get it to Michael! Thanks! : )

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Oh yeah, there's nothing quite like 2 hours of sleep. ;-) I was up pretty late last night working on the birthday project for Mike's site. I didn't start until 9pm because I was trying to give everyone lots of time to send in their pictures or messages, and I would have been done around 2am, but then testing and other things happened. At first, it looked like it didn't want to load properly on the web site, so we spent about 30 minutes (Lael, Gwen, and I) trying to see if it would load and what I could change to make it better. Then, all of a sudden it decided it wanted to work, and Gwen decided she wanted to add her message too. Argh. So, at around 2:30am, I started adding her picture, and Lael started writing the announcements for the various places it would need posted.

This would be fine and good if Lael's announcements were short and direct, but they tend to be imaginative, loosy-goosy, and entertaining. So, that's good, but my head just kept wanting to flop down on my keyboard. It was 4am before I knew it, and Lael wasn't quite done with the last announcement yet, lol. So, I went to bed and said I would see it in 2 hours when I had to be up anyway. This morning, her last message to me was that the CoRo board had gone down while she was working on it, so thank goodness she'd saved it. No kidding!

Once I was up though, I was not as tired as I might be. I have a morning meeting today, so it's not like I could keep snoozing. So far, everyone seems to like the collage, and no one has had problems getting it to load. The music to the piece is an instrumental piano that Mike played and they had on the CoRo site's Union Maid feature in April. If you want to really enjoy the little movie, it's nice to have sound to go with it.

Okay, time to get ready for that meeting ...

Sunday, June 22, 2003

I forgot to mention that Jack came to me this morning while I was still half asleep asking if he could send an email to! *lol* And, it wasn't a dream because Mom said he asked her the same thing. Crazy boy. Of course, he didn't say what the email would be about. He just wanted to know if he could. : )
Ouch. I am sunburnt. For once we get sun, and I get burnt. Oh well. We spent the last two days at Mom's house painting and such, and when I told Jack to avoid my swimsiut top in putting on the sunblock, I didn't think he'd miss my whole upperback. *lol* So, my shoulderblades now look like they belong on a lobster. It doesn't hurt ... much. And, it should be better in a few days.

We had lots of fun painting the shed and the front porch area. Jack helped with the shed, and then took off to play with the neighbor's dog. He took the opportunity to cut himself on something by their play area. No big deal, but his thumb was cut by a thorn of some sort. The rest of the two days, I think he had 1-2 more accidents where he stubbed or scraped something or other. In other words, a typical Jack weekend.

Mom and I went through some things in her garage too, trying to find everything that belonged to me so I could get it out of her way. Jack was going crazy over all my old toys, wanting to keep everything, but there just isn't room. While we were doing that, he had fun with a big box that became his spaceship. He also had some quality time with two inflated innertubes from the pool stuff. It's so funny the things he can keep himself occupied with. Did I mention he's been singing this temple/religious chant sounding song the last two days? It's so funny, because you can usually tell if someone is just humming to a familiar tune, but his actually sounds like something original and the words stay the same. Well, they aren't really English words. Just his own language. Still, very cute.

Now that we are home, I have a lot of things to get done around here though. Class was extremely long, but useful. I have some big projects to tackle at work before we can take our vacation out to see Aimée and Craig. I also need to confirm our plans for going down to Orlando while the flight prices are so low. Just needed to get some "Jack Notes" down before I forgot them. Now, on to other lists before I forget them ....

Friday, June 20, 2003

Yay! Class is over early! I can go get Jack and head home. I imagine the cats are just *starving* by now. Leave them with 5 days of food and a neighbor to check on them, but I am sure they are still all freaked out. 'Til a later time ....

Saturday, June 14, 2003

More interesting developments along the Reading Rainbow line, but I don't really feel like typing them all out right now. We were all online in the chat for over 2 hours last night dishing things out. *sigh* I had a feeling this would happen.

It's a beautiful day out today. We spent some time outside to mow the back lawn already. The park district is having a strawberry jam at Meadowbrook this afternoon, so we will be heading there to enjoy strawberries, ice cream, and music. We tried to go for a walk last night, but Jack mananged to have his 100th minor injury of the month while we were out, so we had to turn back and go home. *lol* He was wearing his sandals and decided to skip ahead of me on the sidewalk. Of course, I always tell him he falls in his sandals, and he always says he'll be careful and not fall. Well, his toe caught on something, he did the little slow motion hop from foot to foot never quite catching his balance before finally tipping over and landing on one knee and an elbow. It's too funny, but not in a mean way. I just know exactly how those things happen from experience. And there was nothing I could've done to stop him.

Of course, he was quite upset. It wasn't that bad, but he did make himself bleed, so we headed home. He calmed down along the way and confessed that just when his head was healed, he had to go and bust his knee and elbow. : ) Silly, silly.

This week we have to be in Peoria for another one of my classes. This is a pretty big one too. Five days, and it covers the material for supposedly hardest test. The garage sale at Gma's is this weekend, so mom and Amy are there doing that. We would've gone up too except I would've needed to come back to take care of the cats at some point, and gas is outrageous yet again. I think I saw yesterday that it jumped up more to $1.59/gal.

I am in the middle of making tapes for everyone from the PBfP, but it is slow going still. I have 14 done though. Only 10 more or so left.

Okay - time to head out. It's too nice of a day to be inside much more. : )

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Ick. My eyes hurt. I was up until midnight or so on Tuesday night on the phone with Lael because we were supposed to have a little online meeting with Josh A. about Reading Rainbow. Josh (we learned later) had laid down at 6pm and slept right on through our meeting time, lol. Well, he did have a 14 hour drive and apartment move to deal with in the last 4 days, so I'll cut him some slack. ; )

Then, last night, we actually *did* have an online conference with Josh, Pooja, Andy, Leo, Lael, and myself. I would like to say that much was accomplished, but that will all be determined by whether or not we have a site up and running in another 5 days. We've all got something to do, so it's just a matter of getting it all together where everyone can see it and toss in their opinion, then smooshing it all together as a final product. What's awesome is that we all bring something to the table. Josh and Lael are both gung-ho with the PR/marketing type ideas, Pooja has agreed to handle the treasurer duties (a task I don't envy), and Leo and I are the lowly techies. Andy was pretty quiet during the meeting, but I am sure we will hear more from him as time goes on.

So, the long and short of it is, I was up until 1am last night, partly from that meeting and partly from recapping with Lael and just jabbering. Jack woke up around midnight for some reason, and then he couldn't stop coughing. So, off to my bed he went, and the coughs magically disappeared. I never knew I had a magic healing bed. ; ) Unfortunately, that also means I had about 4 inches of space to sleep in. Apparently, my bed has the magic to shrink as well. ; )

I have been making copies of the video from last August in Chicago this week. I am going to have that hour of tape imprinted on my brain by the time I am done! I have the mp3s from the Musical playing right now, and that made me think of the videos because we did the little re-enactment of the last song, lol! Oh too funny. : ) "Bugger this."

Okay, time for some work. : )

Monday, June 09, 2003

Another interesting Illinois weekend. We ended up heading to Peoria so that I could help out with pre-garage sale activities, and yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. Then, as is the usual, today was cool (verging on cold) and very windy. The storms acted like they were going to roll in, but we seemed to have avoided them this time.

Poor Fulgie had to go to her Vet appt. on Saturday, but it was pushed back til the afternoon. She cried the whole way in the car there and back. I had to tip the carrier completely on the vertical to dump her out when we got in the room because she was NOT coming out! *lol* At least she didn't get sick or anything like Abby and Dillon used to. On the upside, she didn't even noticed the 2 shots. She just wanted back in the cage where she could hide. Poor thing.

Steve emailed me back finally from, so I am hoping Matt still has an opening in CoRo's schedule so that they can come play at the Canopy Club. That would rock so much! : D

I made plans to head out to Aimée's for the 4th of July. Now I just have to get it on my schedule and run it by KC. It shouldn't be a big deal except that Eric is gone to a class that week. So, I probably won't be able to take off until Thursday. I still want to take a trip back down to Orlando though because Jack is asking when we are going to go. It will have been another 3 months if we wait until August.

Okay, it's late, and as I write this I realize it is all very boring and nothing has happened since Thursday. ; )

Thursday, June 05, 2003

So yesterday's retreat was a lot of fun. We went out to Homer Lake, and it was very beautiful. I didn't even know Homer had a lake. That's central IL for you. There are a lot of things hidden around here, you never would guess. I got there early because I wanted to make sure I had time to get lost on my way there, but I didn't. So, I found the nearest trail and went for a jog. That was great! I haven't gotten to do any real trail running where you are in actual woods, and it was just nice. I would love to have somewhere like that nearby for running, but there just aren't any wooded trails around town. I saw two deer, some rabbits, and cranes on my drive in. The cranes were swooping in and out of the lake area all day. On the way out, I saw the Canadian geese we'd been hearing all day. They were further up the lake drive with all their chicks.

The morning was facilitated by two people from Campus Recreation. The younger of the two just graduated, and she is going to be a teacher in the Bronx. I think it was the Bronx, but it could've been Brooklyn. Either way, they took us through a personality type exercise called True Colors. We have all done the Myers-Briggs type tests before, so we are used to these sorts of things. It was interesting still though because it seemed to be more detailed, and the activities that followed finding out our types helped to emphasize the types and make you remember better who was what.

They had us split into the 4 color groups and use a big piece of paper to put down our ideal vacation. We had to complete a big puzzle with 3 people blindfolded, and the rest could see but couldn't touch the blindfolded people who were in charge of putting the puzzle together. They said we did very good, and maybe even the quickest they've ever seen a group do that one. Then, we did what they called Traffic Jam. It's the exercise where you have 9 marks on the floor, 4 people on each side facing eachother, and then one empty spot in the middle. You have to get the 4 left facing people and the 4 right facing people all the way to the opposite side. But, you can only move to an empty space in front of you or go around 1 person to an empty space. I had actually done this as a part of RA training at WSU, but we weren't allowed to speak to eachother. It took a while, but we got it figured out. : )

We had a cookout for lunch with way too much food and spent the rest of the day talking, going over our new phones, discussing projects and such. The day went by pretty fast, and I think everyone had a good time. They were ready to schedule the next retreat before we left, lol.

Jack had a bad day at school though. When I got there to pick him up, he was on the playground, and I could tell something was wrong. He was upset because he told one of the girls that he was going to throw a shovel at her, but he didn't mean it. It took a while to dig the story out, but apparently this is what happened. He and Girl 1 were playing. Girl 2 wanted Girl 1 to play with her and be only her friend, so Girl 2 told Girl 1 to go tell Jack she wasn't his friend. Of course, this upset Jack and he told me he said the mean thing because he wanted to hurt Girl 2's feelings. Of course he did. She hurt him, so he wants to hurt her. It's all very normal, but still. So, we talked a bit about how saying you want to hurt someone is just as bad as actually trying to hurt them. We talked about how as long as at the end of the day he can say he did his best to be a good person, then he shouldn't get so upset over what other people say. I also tried to get him to remember to talk to his friends when they hurt his feelings, or they will think they can do that whenever they want. James was gone yesterday, but I told him about it this morning. Girl 2 was not there yet, and I wanted to make sure Jack took the time today to tell her how she hurt his feelings. These girls are just ridiculous. Half of the time they want Jack to be their "boyfriend," and then the other half of the time they are just petty and cruel. No wonder I didn't like girls when I was their age.

Jack dressed himself this morning, and the poor thing, he loves these shorts that are bright yellow with green frogs all over. *LOL* He insisted on wearing them with his longsleeve purple and yellow number shirt. : ) I told him that the kids might laugh because they think he looks goofy, and he said that's okay. OK. Hopefully today will be a better day for him. The weather might actually reach 70 today, so it would be nice to spend some time outside after I pick him up. Our lawns aren't quite out of control yet, so that means the park is definitely an option.

Time to get some pictures scanned for work. Time consuming and repetitive, yay! ; )

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Interpreting Dana 101 - Expression Through Punctuation

Lesson the first: Using quotation marks around a word to depict irony.

Here endeth the "lesson."

Brought to you by my foul mood. Thank you very much.

Monday, June 02, 2003

And now comes June. And the weather is still all weird. It was pretty cool today. I don't think we got up to 70 even. This weekend, it was stormy with tornado warnings again on Friday night, then very windy Saturday, but by Sunday it was gorgeous. We spent the whole day basically outside. I mowed both lawns, tested out my new trimmer/edger toy, cleaned gutters, and on and on. Since the weather wasn't very pretty on Saturday, we went to see "Finding Nemo." That was cute! And funny. Another hit for Pixar. I think I saw today that it took in $70 million this weekend. Not too shabby.

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the PBS "Share a Story" event at the mall. They had Cleo from Between the Lions there, Clifford, and a bunch of booths supporting reading. We saw Sandra from the Champaign Library and signed Jack up for the summer reading game. The producer of Between the Lions was there, so I took the opportunity to speak to him about Reading Rainbow's funding problems. He gave me his card and asked me to email him with my ideas. Basically, Between the Lions is at risk too. He is friends with LeVar (the host of Reading Rainbow), and since no formal campaign has been started yet to keep RR on the air, he wanted to hear my ideas. I was so excited, but I couldn't call Lael to tell her because I didn't have a phone number for her.

Later on, I got her number via Cece (Thanks!) and spent an hour on the phone with her going back and forth over the merits of the shows and the ridiculousness of the shows being cut. Come to find out though that someone has already registered the domain, so then I have to find out who, email them, email the producer with our thoughts and such, heard back from the guy with the domain, talked to him for a bit on Sunday, started fiddling around with some web space and design, and yet again I am taking on another project. That's okay though. This one is important.

For lots of reasons: Reading and literacy is important. Reading doesn't start at 6 and stop at 8. If you don't like the way things are going, you can change them. More than kids benefit from this show; ESL viewers, adults with literacy problems, and not to mention that all kids learn to read at different paces and have troubles with different concepts.

I guess I will never understand how those TV execs, another mysterious THEY, make the choices they do.

Anyway, I'm too tired to ramble on anymore. Time to head to bed. More meetings tomorrow, deadlines to meet at work, and a full day will be "lost" at an office retreat on Wednesday. Til later ...